Indian company to explore investing in sugar

Srinath Ispat Limited, a firm based in India with extensive knowledge of the sugar industry, will be in Guyana from Monday, January 23, 2017 to have dialogue with the Guyana Government  on possible investments in the beleaguered Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture today said..

The delegation which will be led by  Rajesh Kumar Agarwal, President of Integrated Casetech Consultants PV T. LTD and Tony Joseph, Managing Director of Sunrise Holdings, will visit major sugar estates, prior to having meetings with the Government.

During the week-long visit, the team will be meeting the Prime Minister and First Vice President,  Moses Nagamootoo and other Ministers as well as senior officials of GuySuCo.

A Trinidadian company last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Guyana Government to embark on a feasibility study on a possible investment in the Skeldon estate.

The government faces major decisions on the sugar industry and has recently held discussions with the opposition PPP/C on the way forward. In its statement today, the ministry noted that on December 31, 2017 consultations began between the Government, GuySuCo, the Opposition and Unions on the future of GuySuCo. The statement said that stakeholders were presented with the proposed options for GuySuCo and undertook to study the documents and the implications after which a submission of possible additional ideas would be made to expand the range of options “so that an agreed position could be decided on in a timely manner on the future of GuySuCo”.

The statement said that the “Government is at this stage concerned, that no response has been provided by the Opposition or the Unions which could be tabled for consideration”.

Observers have noted that the government is expecting a considered response from the opposition in three weeks when it has had 20 months of control over the sugar industry without being able to come up with definitive plans.

The Ministry statement added “It is important that the process of consultations be condensed, particularly since there are significant financial, economic and social implications attached to an extended delayed process for consultations”.

It noted that GuySuCo has requested $18B from the Government for 2017 but that the National Assembly had only approved $9B of which $3B has already been disbursed and utilized by the corporation. The remaining $6B is due for disbursement in March, 2017. Recommendations on the financing of the deficit has been made by GuySuCo for consideration and a decision is urgently awaited, the statement said.

“It is evident, in view of the amount of its financial commitments, unless a decision is made on the future of GuySuCo, the cash strapped corporation will only continue to be a liability to the Government.

“The Government of Guyana has presented a number of alternatives to keep the Corporation afloat including diversification of its activities which has been shared with stakeholders. If a decision is not made on a way forward as a matter of urgency, the future of the sugar industry would be jeopardized”, the statement added.